One sentence of Law and Gospel

You’ll notice that this post contains the same as the previous post. It had that kind of effect…

As I was listening to Issues, Etc.(shameless name-dropping and gratuitous plug) in the car the other day on podcast, I heard a commercial which included a soundbite from the LCMS President Matthew Harrison. In the audio clip, he says,

“My friends, Jesus comes only for sinners.”

I found myself rewinding and playing the clip over and over again (thank you, iPhone, for the 30 seconds reverse scan feature!), which is what I’m doing now, actually. I kept hearing the phrase in my head for days afterwards. And only just recently did it finally occur to me why I cannot stop thinking about that statement. This is the perfect, one sentence proclamation of Law and Gospel

You may look at the sentence and say, “Where is the Law? It says that Jesus comes!” True, but it also says that Jesus come ONLY for sinners. So, who are the sinners? Is Rev. Harrison talking only of the really horrible, wretched souls? The ones who make our blood boil when they splash on the evening news, or on the news websites? Are we discussing Pharisees and tax collectors, perverts and murderers and thieves? Is this the trash of the Earth whom Jesus comes for, and we are caught up in the net of salvation?

If your answer is “No, we are all sinners” then you are right! (Amazing…it’s like we know we are sinful in our hearts…) We are the sinners! Jesus did not come to save perfect people, of which their are none. Paul says in Romans 3, while speaking about the Law, that “None is righteous, no, not one” and, later, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all, as the liturgy for Holy Baptism says, “conceived and born sinful.” When we look to the Word of God to find out who it is that Christ ONLY came to save, we find that we are all part of the wretched, the lost, the really horrible souls.

And yet, we look to the whole sentence to find the answer to that sinfulness. JESUS! “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” says 1 Timothy 1:15. We look to Jesus and find that Gospel, the sweet, everlasting Gospel, which says, quite plainly and clearly, that Christ comes to redeem us from our sins. He comes to this Earth to bring “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” – Romans 3:22

Through simple act of hearing this message from Rev. Harrison are we given the demands of the Law and the message of the Gospel. Praise God for our Lord Christ, who DOES come only for sinners.

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